The usual results. Far beyond the usual suspects.


Counselling for Success – University Guidance at LCS

At LCS, June is a month where we collectively take a moment to pause, reflect, and enjoy. Our students work exceptionally hard, and nothing is more rewarding than watching them achieve their goals and take the next step.

In terms of post-secondary destinations for the Class of 2018, this year’s list reads like a “who’s who” of global universities.

Canada is well-covered, with the top three schools being Queen’s University, the University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa. International locales continue to grow, with students traveling to the U.S., Ireland, the U.K., Germany and Spain. Destinations are also becoming more diverse, including schools such as the Royal College of Surgeons (Dublin, Ireland) and the IE University (Spain).


Navigating a sea of complex choices.

Among the faculty celebrating our graduating students this year, you’ll find Tom Milburn (Director of University Guidance) whose daughter is also graduating from LCS.  Originally trained as a journalist, he has a penchant for inquiry, and naturally looks for the story behind the story. As we reflect on today’s successes, he is a critical part of the narrative.

On the surface, his role is very straightforward. He aligns student needs and goals with the appropriate post-secondary institutions that serve them.

While this sounds obvious, nothing could be further from the truth.

The choices facing students today are extremely complex. They literally have the world in the palm of their hands, and while incredibly exciting, it comes with new challenges. University programs can be hyper-specific, entry requirements are diverse, and many schools don’t fit the traditional mold. Add variables such as AP courses, and their corresponding prerequisites, and you have students making career defining choices as early as Grade 10.

All of these factors serve to not only heighten the importance of guidance throughout high school, but have also changed the role itself.


 “The best university is the one that’s right for you.”

In talking with Tom about these changes, one hears a unique blend of confident knowledge and warm empathy. His wit is as sharp as his presence is comforting. Like any other LCS staff member, he does an exceptional job simplifying complex issues. He cuts through them with an unexpected, higher-level idea.

“The best university is the one that’s right for you,” Tom says.

We speak further about specifics, and how Lakefield provides support and guidance in a way that other schools can’t.

“The core of what we do involves working with students individually, and extensively, over a four-year period. To help someone make the right choices, you need to know the person. Factors beyond academics are critical; including school size, location and the nature of campus life.” – Tom Milburn, Director of University Guidance

The importance of counselling for the individual can’t be underscored enough. Factors that make a particular business school ideal for one student, can make it the wrong choice for another. Plus, as new career choices come into play, different variables emerge. With four Guidance Counsellors for 365 students, LCS provides unparalleled support throughout the entire process.


Creativity, authenticity and success in post-secondary guidance.

Tom also talks a lot about creativity and authenticity. A significant portion of his work extends beyond the Grove’s borders. He and his team often visit universities in person, getting a feel for intangibles, and cultivating important relationships.

“You can’t give students an accurate picture unless you’ve actually been there. There’s an authenticity to the advice we give.”

The success of Lakefield’s approach is clear, and it functions on many levels. On one hand, there are the phenomenal placement statistics. On another, there’s creativity and diversity, with students pursuing careers in everything from the culinary arts to aviation. On yet another, there’s a quality of decision-making, where students are making mature, well-rounded decisions that reflect who they want to be.


 “When you go beyond the usual suspects of science, business, law and medicine, decisions are often more difficult. There can be a lot of pressure to follow traditional paths. It’s important to be a knowledgeable, non-judgmental sounding-board for students. For me, these are the most rewarding situations… when you’ve really helped someone who was unsure of what path to take.”  

We congratulate the Class of 2018 on their achievements. They deserve them. It is with a mix of joy, excitement and sadness that we see them go. Behind every smiling face you see this June, there’s a story. We all play an important role. Then there are the stories behind these stories; critical links that bridge the past with the future. This is where Tom and his team work.

They do an exceptional job.



This year’s class have made their final decisions and secured outstanding places throughout North America and Europe at some of the world’s top universities. Along the way, our students have secured approximately $1.6 million in scholarship funding. 

Read the highlights and  watch the video.